Can the Political Legitimacy of the Democratic Government in India Be Qualitatively Enhanced?

Political Legitimacy Defies Definition

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy describes Political Legitimacy as ‘a virtue of political institutions and of the decisions-about laws, policies, and candidates for political office-made within them.’

The perspective of Political Legitimacy may differ vastly; from mere ‘creation of political authority by force’ to ‘moral justification by the loyalty and free will of the enlightened citizens,’ there can be several levels of Political Legitimacy. In the democratic form the government is of the people, by the people and for the people; and so the Political Legitimacy is normally evaluated using the parameters like the authenticity of the constitution, fairness of the elections, standard of governance etc.

Legitimacy is a deeper issue than popularity. Particular leaders and policies may be unpopular without generating a desire for a fundamental change of political system. Academic research based on large-scale surveys suggests that: China’s political system enjoys high levels of legitimacy; and this legitimacy has multiple sources. [1]

In an ABS survey (2008), to a proposition, “Although our political system has various kinds of problems, it is still the best that fits our national conditions,” only 11% of the people strongly agreed; 84% somewhat agreed; 4% somewhat disagreed; and 1% strongly disagreed. Obviously we cannot say that Political Legitimacy here is 100%. So it is clear that though we have to agree on Political Legitimacy most of the times, it is only for the purpose of having a working mechanism in position, in spite of obvious gaps.

The Indian Context

Julius Caesar divorced his wife Pompeia because of rumors, not because he believed them but because ‘Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion.’

The monarchs of ancient times are known to have been very sensitive about their legitimacy when the issues of justice and public opinion arose about their governance. The Chola king Manu sentenced his young son, the only prince to death when a crime had been committed against a calf! Rama exiled His dear wife, when He learnt that a washer-man viewed against His re-acceptance of Sita! There was no political or legal compulsion for such extraordinary actions of the rulers.

To give an example from the modern history, “Lal Bahadur Shastri resigned from Railways in 1956, owning moral responsibility for a railway accident. Jawaharlal Nehru tried to persuade Shastri but Lal Bahadur Shastri refused to budge from his stand. By his action Lal Bahadur Shastri set new standards of morality in public life.”

I read an interesting essay of Sri Ananya Vajpeyi entitled, ‘Gandhi, Morality and Political Legitimacy’ in the [2] He briefly discusses the ideas of Gandhi, and his relevance today. He explains how in a democracy the legitimacy of a government flows mainly from the will of the people and ‘capacities and capabilities of the government.’ He adds, “But in the end it exceeds and transcends all of these factors, and resides elsewhere, in a more subtle quality that has to do with the inherent morality of any structure of power that purports to rule a people in their name and for their own good.” His argument is that though the people’s votes establish a government (for a given period), the real legitimacy should be ‘earned’ by the way it functions. That is, the legitimacy does not come as a package for a fixed period but needs to be continuously earned and enjoyed.

He may give an impression that his expectations are slightly on the higher side but they cannot be brushed aside as being unreasonable or impossible. He does not seek to place the government on any shaky ground. He only wants that the democratic governments should function fully conscious of an ethical yardstick and sense of noble responsibility towards the people. He says, “Legitimacy has to be earned the hard way, through good governance, transparency, probity, lawfulness, justice, inclusivity and the capacity to demonstrate, both every day and in a crisis, that a government really is not just by and of, but also for the people.”

This leads to the million dollar question: Why a government with such legitimacy has not emerged in India so far? (Leave alone the present Narendra Modi’s government, which seems to be moving towards somewhere near the mark, though there is a long way to go.)

All of us know that the people get the government they deserve. For a government qualified with such legitimacy to emerge, we need two things: First, the people should have patriotism and a decent political standard. Second, the constitutional and structural framework should have been built sensibly.

When the common enemy viz. the British were there, the job of uniting the people was easier. The Congress leaders were able to inculcate a national spirit among the people. But they did not take care to preserve that spirit and strengthen it in independent India. Broadly speaking, the really patriotic Congressmen left politics after getting Independence feeling shy of enjoying the benefits of their earlier selfless struggle. Those who chose to accept public offices and serve the country, did not have the energy needed to tackle the power-hungry vultures, which rushed in, when the Congress opened the floodgates after Independence. The strength of sincere grassroots diminished and slowly became extinct; many of the anti-national, corrupt elements, who had vested interests in dividing the Indian people on the lines of religion, caste, language, region and class, easily hijacked the national Congress within a few decades.

Innumerable regional pressure groups mushroomed in the guise of ‘political parties’ and divided the people to create their own vote-banks and establish their own empires!

This could have been easily avoided if the energy and enthusiasm of the nationalists had been preserved after Independence; if the need for unity among all the citizens had been realized and strengthened; if a few dynamic measures at national level (like annihilation of castes suggested by Dr. Ambedkar) had been seriously considered; if the issues like Introduction of Hindi (referred to as ‘imposition of Hindi’ in some areas) that were sensitive and of less importance for the nation had been kept aside; if the ‘regional political parties’ had not been allowed to raise their ugly heads with their anti-national plans; if the policy of pacifism towards the minorities coupled with anti-Hindu attitude had not been encouraged in the name of ‘secularism’; if the minorities and down-trodden communities had been embraced in the main political current and encouraged to develop themselves with confidence and patriotism (by offering help and opportunities to develop instead of concessions, freebies, and ‘rewards’); and if the corruption, social indiscipline and inefficiency in governance had been dealt with strongly, mainly in high levels of political set-up and bureaucracy.

We saw to what a pathetic level a highly qualified Prime Minister could be reduced and made helpless, if the central government had to continue at the mercy of the regional pressure groups, masquerading as political parties.

Several important reforms have been pushed to oblivion and remain there for decades, thanks to these regional parties.

Thus we see that the most of the politicians of the post-Independence period did not work for a better political standard of the people; on the contrary they reduced it by criminalization of the politics and by adhering to poor political conduct and damaging the ‘service content’ of political life.

Secondly, the constitutional and structural framework also has not been improved with national fervor and enthusiasm that could be normally expected in a country that attained freedom after suffering aggression and alien rule for several centuries. Even the political strategies of the British, like the divide and rule policy, have been unashamedly continued. The dynamic measures like de-recognition of castes, introduction of uniform legal system for all the Indian citizens, educational reforms with a patriotic spirit, and emphasis on national unity would have ensured better administration and conferred the governments ipso facto with a better legitimacy.

The term legitimacy is not confined only to legality; we may even talk about the legitimacy of a law. It has definite ethical connotations also.

The main identity of all Indian citizens, irrespective of their religion, caste, language, region etc., should be only ‘INDIAN’ and everything else should come only next to that. They should be basically united with a sense of belonging to India. Till this becomes a reality, the political legitimacy of our governments is bound to be short of the mark.




Why Business Leaders Need Executive Education

While many people dream of owning or running a business, they do not dream of the hiccups and problems they may encounter along the way. These issues often come in the form of employee conflicts, challenges in staff training and how to be an effective executive. Many people learn these skills as they develop their businesses, but savvy business leaders take the time to gain professional training. Taking the time to learn about the fundamentals of effective leadership can help a company grow and become more successful. Classes are available through executive education and leadership programs at local universities.

Every industry changes and grows, and every business needs to learn how to keep up with the competition and even surpass it. Executive education programs help the management and leaders at the top to build a better understanding of how their company is run, what its strengths and weaknesses are and how they can manage it better. People that stop learning and changing tend to become stagnant both personally and professionally.

Every business is only as strong as its weakest link. When executives take the time to discover how to help their employees learn, grow and better performs their duties, it will also help the company as a whole. This is done through conflict management training. It is also helpful for management to learn how to deal with issues such as unhappy or overburdened employees, staff development and training, technical problems and the art of negotiation through various classes and seminars.

Taking time out for leadership training is sometimes difficult for the person with the most responsibilities in the company. They may have a busy schedule or feel as if they cannot leave the employees alone for any length of time. However, investing the time training seminars and certificate programs is an investment in the future that management cannot afford to ignore. There are several ways that executives can find the time for training. These include attending regular seminars with keynote speakers, attending short educational luncheons or going to week-long executive leadership development program workshops.

There are many different ways for executives to improve their approaches toward business. These courses and seminars come in the form of certificate programs, customized personal development programs. They are available through a university or extended educational service. Once the top level of management has discovered ways to make the business stronger and more efficient, they can begin to focus on the other parts of the company and business.

Distance Education, Executive and Part Time MBA in India For the Working Individuals

There lies no trace of a doubt or ignorance about the revolutionary change that this distance education MBA courses have brought to the learning system. Bright opportunities have come alive for those working individuals as well as students who at times fail to attend the regular course of study that are taught and discussed inside a classroom. Such an open positive option are often picked by individuals who have a hectic working schedules or even keep the hopes of a better career in job alive by pursuing these MBA course programs in parallel. Amity School of Distance Learning of Noida, Bharathidasan University – Centre for Distance Education, Alagappa University and Annamalai University (Directorate of Distance Education) of Tamil Nadu; Bharathair University- School of Distance Education of Coimbatore and Bharati Vidyapeeth University of Pune are some of the prestigious colleges and universities that provides teaching materials for the distance education MBA course programs.

With the advent of new technologies even there has been a radical change in the format and approach of learning paradigm. Wide spread front doors are opened by reputed colleges and institutes for dedicated students and working individuals who have a longing desire to fulfill their academic dream through a part time MBA in India. This is because there are some worth notable advantage for any student caring to climb on a prosperous platform to seek a secured job after pursuing these part time MBA course programs. Such courses are honestly beneficial to the sincere students who already have any working experience with some organization in the field of business and management. They can develop their managerial skills as well as get more exposure for a better job in future. Besides the course fee is also affordable in these course programs as compared to the full time MBA courses.

It is on this date an unquestionable that executive MBA in India can never be taken on a trivial note especially if an individual have a desire to become a manager, seasoned leader, administrator, business owner, or even a board member after pursing the mentioned course program. Such individuals can cultivate their leadership quality as well as trait to take official responsibilities more comprehensively through these executive MBA courses that are in high demands these days. Symbiosis Centre for Management and Human Resource Development (SCMHRD) in Pune; Xavier Institute of Management and Entrepreneurship (XIME) in Bangalore; Faculty of Management Studies (FMS-Delhi) in Delhi / NCR; and Deccan School of Management in Hyderabad are conferring an executive MBA degree to their students after they complete the course duration quite successfully.